After 3 Years, Spain's Running of the Bulls Returns

Nobody was gored on first day of wildly popular festival
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 7, 2022 5:01 AM CDT
Running of the Bulls Returns After 3 Years
People run through the streets with fighting bulls and steers during the first day of the running of the bulls at the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, northern Spain, Thursday, July 7, 2022.   (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

(Newser) – The first bull run in three years at the San Fermín festival in the Spanish city of Pamplona took place early Thursday. No one was gored, but several runners endured knocks and hard falls as tens of thousands partygoers reveled in the return of one of Europe's most famous traditional events. The six bulls, guided by six tame oxen, charged through Pamplona’s streets in around 2 minutes, 35 seconds without provoking too much carnage among the thousands of people cramming the course, the AP reports. Several runners were stomped, trampled or shoved to the cobblestone pavement. At least two men were smacked in the head by the broadside of a horn, but none suffered a skewering.

The Pamplona hospital said that six people needed to be brought in for treatment, including a 30-year-old American man who fractured the radius and ulna of his left arm and one 16-year-old Spanish boy who lost a part of a finger in the bullring, where a pile-up of runners occurred just in its entry point. The other four injured were Spanish men between 19 and 45 years old. This was the first of eight early morning bull runs that are followed by massive drinking, eating, and attending cultural events for the rest of the day. Eight people were gored during the last festival in 2019 before the pandemic. Sixteen people have died in the bull runs since 1910. The last death occurred in 2009.

The bulls that run each morning are killed in bullfights in the afternoon by professional bullfighters. Animal rights activists have campaigned against the slaughter of the animals, but the bullfights are still an integral part of the San Fermín festival. The festivities were canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. Spain’s strong vaccination program has allowed life to return to more or less normal, but a recent uptick in cases has led Pamplona authorities to recommend using face masks when necessary. That said, masks were a very rare sight in the throngs of people packing the city’s square for the official kickoff of the party on Wednesday or during the first bull run. (Read more Pamplona stories.)

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